I am very fortunate that I was able to spend half of my life growing up in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes with vast forests, and the mighty Lake Superior, world largest freshwater lake. No matter where I go in the world and I have seen some incredible places, northern Minnesota always remains one of the few places I keep returning to because I love the scenery and there is a family and child connection there for me. Here are a few of my favorite places in Minnesota that I have visited over the years:

Lake Superior & the North Woods

Lake Superior is the world’s largest freshwater lake and holds a near spiritual like reverence to me. My great grandparents when they first emigrated from Norway first arrived at the USA via Duluth, the main port city on Lake Superior. My grandma owned a cabin on the lake where I spent my childhood summers. I also lived in Duluth for 4 years and graduated from graduated from college there. Over the years I have learned to accept Lake Superior as a kind of mighty queen that rules over northern Minnesota and depending on her mood she can be placid and emerald, green, or tempest tossing up heaves of water dozens of feet high battering the lake shore. Then in the winter the lake freezes over into huge plates of sheer green and blue ice that form a winter wonderland of colors and beauty.

Also, one of the largest forests in the world, the Boreal Forest of mixed deciduous and coniferous forest covers the shoreline of Lake Superior and continues for over a thousand miles northward until giving way to tundra in northern Canada. The northern forests are dotted with glacial lakes and abound with wildlife such as bear, moose and Timberwolf. Minnesota is one of the last states in the lower 48 with a sizable population of timber wolves, previously exterminated in most other states. My absolute favorite place in the world to get away from it all and escape modern civilization is the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (BWCA). The BWCA along with the adjoining Canadian Quetico Park preserve millions of across of wilderness and lakes that can only be explored by canoe. For me I have been canoeing these lakes since I was a kid and this wilderness is where I feel the most peace in this world.

Cargo Boat entering the port city of Duluth beneath the lift bridge at Canal park

Cargo Boat entering the port city of Duluth beneath the lift bridge at Canal park

My wife looking out of the Two harbord lighthouse guesthouse where we stayed when we got engaged

Split Rock Lighthouse

Palisades

My brother on a hike in the Superior National Forest

Gartner Snake, something I loved catching as a kid

Train tracks running through Knife River, where I used to walk all the time as a kid because my grandmas cabin was located adjacant to them. 

Witch tree, Grand Portage-The gnarled old tree in the back ground is a 400 + year old cedar called the Witch Tree that grows from a Lake Superior cliff. The tree is revered by the Native, Ojibwa of northern Minnesota and has stood sentry over Lake Superior since European Fur Traders first visited these shores. The Ojibwa believe that the Witch Tree possesses evil spirits and hoping for a safe journey before venturing across the perilous waters of lake Superior, Ojibwa travelers have for centuries left small offerings of tobacco such as this small pouch to appease the spirits of the tree and continue to do so today.  

My parents on the giant chairs along the lake drive of the north shore on one of the thousands of trips we have done together up there.

Paula and I at Magnetic Rock, Superior National Forest

An old fishing shack on Lake Superior

Moonrise from the island we were camping on in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (BWCA)

My brother and I portaging our canoe a feew miles between lakes in the BWCA through a mosquito infested swamp

Frozen Lake Superior in winter

Frozen Lake Superior in winter

Southern Minnesota

Southern Minnesota seems like a different world from the north. The lakes and forests give way to the great plains and vast fields of corn. The southern part of the state is where my dad grew up and is the home to one of the most formidable Indian tribes of north America, the Dakota.

 

My brother on the inside of the frozen Minnehaha Falls in winter

Paula on the inside of the frozen Minnehaha Falls in winter

paula on the inside of the frozen Minnehaha Falls in winter

frozen Minnehaha Falls in winter

Dakota Pow Wow in Morton

Dakota Pow Wow in Morton

Dakota Pow Wow in Morton

My dads abandoned childhood house in Morton Minnesota

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